This Day In Music 18.06.2016
No one has been more famous or more relevant for the past fifty years then Sir Paul McCartney. From the late '50s to the present day, Paul has been making music, dabbling in movies, painting and has been heavily involved with environmental and vegetarian causes. And yet, he seems strangely accessible. OFF#ROCK want to celebrate 'Macca' for his 74th birthday with ten little things that, this is certain, you don't know about him.
10. He’s A Good Drummer
Paul is a natural musician so it’s not difficult for him to pick up an instrument and figure it out in a short amount of time. He played the drums on “The Ballad of John and Yoko” because John wanted to record it the day he wrote it and no one else was around. Paul played drums on “Back In The U.S.S.R.” and “Dear Prudence” because Ringo had momentarily quit the Beatles.
9. Paul Is Partially Responsible For the Development of the Cat Scan
The Beatles record label, EMI, also had a computer research facility that was run by Godfrey Hounsfield who was very involved with x-ray computerized tomography or C.T.. The Beatles made so much money for the label that EMI was able to invest it in Hounsfield’s new technology resulting in the CT Scan machine in the 1970’s.
8. He Never Felt In Competition With The Rolling Stones
The competition between The Beatles and The Rolling Stones never existed. The man who Paul felt he was in competition with was the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson. Both men were bass players and both did most of the composing for their respective bands. McCartney regarded the Beach Boys' “Pet Sounds” album as one of the greatest records ever made and recommended it to everyone he knew. Paul was particularly impressed with how Wilson, as the bass player, didn’t feel compelled to play the root chord but was able to weave a melody around it. For his part, Wilson felt he was in competition with the Beatles and when he heard “Sgt. Pepper” he felt so intimidated that he almost quit the music business entirely.
7. He Helped Invent Heavy Metal
A lot of people consider Mc Cartney's “Helter Skelter” the first, or one of the first, heavy metal songs because of its heavy bass and drums and screaming vocals. The song came about because McCartney heard Pete Townshend describing “I Can See For Miles” as the loudest, rawest, dirtiest song The Who or anyone had ever recorded. Paul took this as a challenge, so he immediately set forth to write a song that was louder, rawer and dirtier.
McCartney said the song was about starting at the bottom and getting to the top, the fall of the Roman Empire and just decline in general.
6. He Can Do A Really Neat Parlor Trick
For some reason, Paul, can count backwards from 2,000 to 1 unofficially faster than any other human. In fact, he can do it much faster then he can count from 1 to 2,000. He is not normally math inclined and has no idea why he has the ability to do this but it’s good that he has something to fall back on if this music thing doesn’t work out.
5. Almost Won An Academy Award For One Afternoon’s Work
In 1973, Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman approached McCartney and asked him if he wanted to write the theme for the new James Bond film Live and Let Die. He read the novel the film was based on, liked it and wrote the song in one afternoon with Linda McCartney.
Live and Let Die led to Paul and his veteran producer, George Martin, reuniting for the recording of the song. Saltzman wanted Shirley Bassey to sing it but Paul let it be known that if he wasn’t allowed to record it with Wings, then the Bond people couldn’t have the song. Live and Let Die reached number 2 in the U.S. and went on to be nominated for Best Original Song at the 1973 Academy Award but lost to The Way We Were.
4. He Has Become An Accomplished Painter
Paul has known noted artist Willem de Kooning since the late seventies. De Kooning had been after Paul to try painting for years and Macca finally took de Kooning up on it in. Painting appealed to McCartney because there were no rules like in music and he could express himself in any way.
“He is really nice. There is something of me in this, I don't know why, I don't know how to describe it, but a lot of these ideas you can see the germs of back in my schoolbooks, old schoolbooks I have: little scrawlings, rude ladies, naked girls, things I was awakening to, and the thrill was being able to conjure them up like an illusionist”, Macca said.
“This is Linda relaxing in my room at home where I have the piano, and she is sitting on the couch and she was in yellow. So I made everything yellow. Her hair was yellow, her blouse was yellow, so I made them all yellow. So it became a very yellow picture. I enjoyed making it. It is a very typical pose of Linda's: the legs — this foot is slightly strange, but I like it — this shoe”, Paul said.
3. His Song, “Coming Up,” Inspired John Lennon To Write Music Again
According to Peter Ames Carlin in 'Paul McCartney: A Life', John Lennon was driving to visit his assistant, Frederic Seaman, on Long Island when he heard Coming Up on the radio. The song is pretty damn infectious and the next day, John found himself humming the song’s melody, going so far as to admit that the song was “driving me crackers!” At this point Lennon hadn’t written anything in five years but he felt that since his former song writing partner was creating good music then he’d better try and do the same.
2. He Followed In Kurt Cobain’s Footsteps
In 2012, Foo Fighters frontman and former Nirvana drummer, Dave Grohl, was producing a documentary called “Sound City” about the fabled studio that closed their doors in 2011. Grohl, a huge Beatles fan, called Paul and asked him if he was interested in jamming with him and some of his friends, Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear. Sir Paul had a day off so he drove to meet up with Grohl. The song they recorded, “Cut Me Some Slack” ended up winning the Grammy for “Best Rock Song.” Paul had a great time remarking, “It was magic for me, playing with these guys.”
1. He Was Inspired By Slim Whitman
When Paul was fourteen, his father bought him a trumpet which he exchanged for an acoustic guitar. Paul is left handed and was having a rough go of trying to play this instrument that was strung for right handed players. It wasn’t until Paul saw a poster of yodeling superstar, Slim Whitman, did he realize what the solution to his problems was. Slim was left handed so he flipped the guitar over so that the fret board was on his right side and restrung all the chords which was exactly what Sir Paul did.